Students Make a Difference in Nicaragua on Alternative Fall Break

HIGH POINT, N.C., Nov. 2, 2011 – Several High Point University students in the Alpha Phi Omega service fraternity recently had the opportunity of a lifetime during their recent fall break – they traveled to Nicaragua as part of HPU’s Alternative Fall Break Program.

The group, which included 15 students and two advisers, traveled to Isle de Ometepe, Nicaragua. There, they worked at a school for deaf children.

“We worked in the garden, digging up plantain trees and planting vegetables that will eventually help feed local families,” says Maggie Sturdevant, a junior at HPU who attended the trip. “We also helped construct a new bathroom for the school, painted some classrooms, interacted with the students by playing soccer and got to know them. By the end of the week, we stopped by a preschool on the island and met with the kids and played with them.”

Sturdevant says the trip was especially important because it really allowed HPU students to see how really big the world is.

“There is so much more going on than what is here is America, and there is so much need all over the world,” she says. “Service trips such as this one are a great way to be a part of something larger than ourselves – even if it is something small. It’s a way to give back and lend a hand to a community in need, and it’s worth more than any words can describe.

Sturdevant says a poignant moment for her in particular during the trip was seeing the interaction between the HPU students and the students at the school.

“Even with the language barrier of Nicaraguan sign language, there were still special connections made and interactions that will hold a lasting impression in my mind,” she says. “That just shows that sometimes the only communication you need is a smiling face.”

The Nicaragua Alternative Fall Break was one of three trips taken during the HPU Fall Break. Two other trips were taken to Guatemala and Alabama, which were made in partnership with Oak Ridge United Methodist Church.

Other projects in past years, which began in 2005, have included flood recovery in Iowa, Atlanta and Nashville; hurricane response in Texas; a food gleaning project in Orlando; a safe-housing project in Florida; and hurricane relief in Mississippi.

At High Point University, every student receives an extraordinary education in an inspiring environment with caring people.℠ HPU, located in the Piedmont Triad region of North Carolina, is a liberal arts institution with over 4,200 undergraduate and graduate students from 51 countries and 46 states at campuses in High Point and Winston-Salem. It is ranked by US News and World Report at No. 3 among Regional Colleges in the South. ranks HPU in the top 7 percent among “America’s Best Colleges.” Parade Magazine lists HPU in the top 25 private schools in the nation. HPU was selected in the 2010-2011 list of “Colleges of Distinction,” as well as one of the top green schools in the country by the Sierra Club. The university offers 50 undergraduate majors, 43 undergraduate minors and 10 graduate degree programs. It is accredited by the Commission of Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, and is a member of the NCAA, Division I and the Big South Conference. Visit High Point University on the Web at

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Pam Haynes

Communication Specialist


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